Chinese self-driving startup Freetech raises nearly US$100mil

Chinese self-driving startup Freetech raises nearly US$100mil
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BEIJING: Chinese autonomous driving startup Freetech Intelligent System has raised nearly US$100 million in a series B funding round led by Chaos Investment.

Other investors participating in the latest funding round include Hengxu Capital, a unit of SAIC Motor, BAIC Capital and TCL Industries Holdings.

Freetech will use the capital to establish its core technology, conduct research development of next-generation products and promote the commercialisation of autonomous driving.

Freetech has research and development, testing and production facilities in the cities of Hangzhou and Jiaxing in Zhejiang province, as well as in Shanghai. It recently opened its third R&D centre in Chengdu, Sichuan province. The company currently has more than 1,200 employees.

Freetech develops full-stack smart driving solutions combining hardware and software on its own. It is one of the few companies in China that internally develops products ranging from cameras to millimetre wave radars to domain controllers.

Freetech has partnerships with more than 40 carmakers and provides products for more than 100 models. This year, more than 1 million sets of smart driving solutions will be mounted on cars of many automakers including China FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor, Changan Automobile, BAIC Motor, BYD and Lynk & Co.

In the auto industry, Level 2 autonomous driving assist features have been included as standard equipment in new cars over the past few years. More cars are now being equipped with Level 2+ driving assist features and more advanced autonomous driving systems.

To upgrade its technology and solutions, Freetech has developed “ODIN” solutions combining hardware and software to meet the needs of different manufacturers, models and autonomous driving levels.

ADC20, the latest domain controller developed based on the ODIN platform, is an all-in-one auto driving and auto parking system that Freetech mass-produced ahead of other companies. It has features such as high-speed NOA (navigate on autopilot), HPA (home zone park assist) and shadow mode (a feature in which sensors collect data in the background while driving), and it will be used for multiple brands and models.

“Autonomous driving is one of the most important technologies of smart cars, and solutions driven by advanced domain controllers could explode next year,” said Freetech founder and CEO Zhang Lin. “We will mass-produce autonomous driving solutions, driven by advanced domain controllers eventually, using first-mover advantage.”